Greenpeace urges investors: “Do not invest into the destruction of the Arctic!”

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Feature story - 17 April, 2012
April 17, 2012, Moscow – Today Greenpeace Russia activists hold a non-violent direct action at the premises of the Renaissance Monarch Hotel in Moscow during the opening of the 2nd Annual conference “Russian Arctic Oil and Gas” there. While oil industry representatives are going to discuss their plans on developing Arctic resources with major investors Greenpeace states: “Arctic is far more valuable than oil!”

High-level representatives of such companies as Shell, Statoil, ExxonMobil, Gazprom, among many other, will take the floor at the conference. Among the major topics will be the newest technologies of oil and gas drilling and transportation in freezing Arctic seas. The main task of the conference speakers is to convince investors that the development of the Arctic off-shore is highly profitable and absolutely safe.

The “Russian Arctic Off-shore Hydrocarbon Exploration: Investments Risks” report, which Greenpeace is going to hand over to the conference participants, fundamentally argues both profitability and safety of the Arctic off-shore projects, as the risks related to drilling in the Arctic off-shore are so great that any economic effectiveness of hydrocarbon projects there is more than ambivalent. “Scientists predict that during the next decades the Arctic off-shore oil will not be of any commercial value: by 2025 a maximum of 13,5 million tons will be extracted here annually — it is less than 3% of Russia’s current annual oil production, —  explains Vladimir Chouprov, Head of Greenpeace Russia Energy Program. — While the use of renewable energy sources is very much safer and economically more effective, Russia and some other countries continue plotting out Arctic off-shore unproven oil reserves. Are hydrocarbon projects any attractive in our new ‘green energy’ era?”

Among the key problems related to the development of the Arctic off-shore, ecologists place emphasis on unacceptably high risks of emergent oil spills and low technical quality of carrying out oil and gas extraction projects, high Arctic off-shore oil production costs, as well as the absence of accurate data on the proven reserves of Arctic off-shore oil and its quality.

Greenpeace’s concerns are substantiated by the recently released report by Lloyd’s — the world’s biggest insurance market. The report states that drilling in the Arctic off-shore will be accompanied with “unforeseen risks the consequences of which are hard to predict”. Richard Ward, Lloyd's chief executive, calls for investing not in the Arctic off-shore oil development but in science and research to "close knowledge gaps, reduce uncertainties and manage risks".

Despite the fact that ecologists unanimously evaluate the Arctic off-shore drilling projects as a total recklessness, oil corporations, and first of all — Shell and Gazprom, continue their rush into the heart of the Arctic region. While Gazprom already set its maritime stationary oil drilling platform “Prirazlomnaya” in the Barents Sea and plans to start its industrial operation in the nearest future, Shell sent its two drill ships to start the development of Alaska’s off-shore. The presence of both these companies at the conference is a unique opportunity to simultaneously convey a strict demand to these oil industry giants to give up their reckless plans on the destruction of the fragile Arctic ecosystems.

The “Russian Arctic Off-shore Hydrocarbon Exploration: Investments Risks” report 

More pictures you can find here and here

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